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Classical Music
Janelle Gelfand on the classical music scene

Janelle's pen has taken her to Japan, China, Carnegie Hall, Europe (twice), East and West Coasts, and Florida. In fact, Janelle was the first Enquirer reporter to report from Europe via e-mail -- in 1995.

Janelle began writing for the Cincinnati Enquirer as a stringer in 1991 while writing a Ph.D. dissertation in musicology at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She joined the Enquirer staff in 1993.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she graduated from Stanford University, Janelle has lived in Cincinnati for more than 30 years. In her free time, this pianist plays chamber music with her circle of musical friends in Cincinnati.

She covers the Cincinnati Symphony, May Festival and Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, chamber music ensembles, and as many recitals and events at CCM and NKU as possible.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Conlon: Thoughts about culture in our country

Yesterday, I sat down with James Conlon at Music Hall to discuss many things, among them, the state of culture in our country today. One of the ironic things, he noted, is that we have thousands of excellent musicians and singers graduating each year from conservatories such as CCM, more orchestras and opera companies than ever -- yet there seems to be an increasing apathy for great art -- literature included -- in our country.

I thought this was an important point that he made. He was not referring to the demise of the Columbus Symphony, but you could see it in the context of a city that seems to be abandoning something it has cultivated for more than a half century.

My question: Many orchestras struggle for audiences. How do you keep the public renewed and interested?

Conlon: "Education has failed us in that regard and many others as well. Those of us who devote our lives to classical music have to roll up our sleeves and figure things out. We are carrying an unfair burden – when the federal government has let us down, when many local governments have let us down, and when, to be honest, churches have let us down.

"All communities should be playing a role in the preservation of great values from our civilization, and I consider all the classical arts and literature great accomplishments of our civilization, which need to be kept alive by a constant contact of the greater population.

"It has come to be in the last generation and half, that the political message has been that this is elite and therefore unworthy of widespread support.

"To me this is my big mission. I have the mission about the 'Recovered Voices,' but my big mission is to do whatever I can as an American conductor and as an American artist, and most of all as an American citizen, to stem the tide of this very unhealthy development of the marginalization of classical arts and literature."


at 5/20/2008 02:52:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WE are the government (be it state or federal), WE are the churches. It is you and I that must insist that OUR homes, schools and churches foster these values. Of course this fact posted on this blog on this site is really meaningless. Anyone who's reading this is already part of the solution. (Aren't you?)

at 5/20/2008 03:37:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good comment from Mr. Conlon, Maestro of May Festival, who has the best opporunity to go before our lawmakers and appeal to them on this losing struggle, should instigate and demand much more thought on the problem facing the extinction of our musical heritage.
Also other maestros;Paavo Jarvi, Erich Kunzel who moves in and out of Washington, DC could begin to ask the same and deter from some of the electronic plus media attractions.
Schools are not center of the music specials, most time is spent with sports and
many will never witness a beautiful musical event til they leave school confines. More time should be allotted to cultivating our culture. eM=M

at 5/21/2008 08:00:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many school systems that make music and the arts an intregal part of an education. Just not CPS.

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